26 July 2017

The wines of Alexandris Family Winery: A pleasant surprise from the island of Rhodos

It is during my annual pilgrimage to the island of Symi and the monastery of Panormitis that I first make a brief stop in the gorgeous island of Rhodos in the southeast corner of the Mediterranean. This time I integrated some wine excitement as well with a tasting of the wines from Alexandris family winery.

Rhodos boasts a long wine history and an associated tradition that goes back thousand years. It is here that Cair and Emery flourished, mostly with sparkling wines, yet now boutique artisanal wineries seem to come strong bringing a fresh breeze of air.

Alexandris family winery was established in 1968 cultivating organically their 4 hectares that are based on Athiri. Athiri is a rather neutral white Greek variety that in Rhodos can be elevated to different standards. The main reason according to winemaker Panagiotis Alexandris educated in Montpellier is that phylloxera never arrived in the island so one can find many own rooted vines. There are some grafted vines as well says Alexandris but old vines totally transform the variety's potential. Diversity of soils and altitude that can reach 700 m play additionally a significant role; patches of schist tend to produce mineralic, structured wines.

Athiri old vines

The Basics for Alexandris: 4 ha producing approximately 20.000 bottles, with most labels not exceeding 2.000 bottles.  

The Wines:

Alexandris Athiri 2013

(onw rooted Athiri trained in bush vines, age of vines up to 60 yo, schist soils, blocked MLF, 11 months on the lees, no oak) Intensely smoky on the nose elevating Athiri's aromatic profile to another level. There is a lot of freshness around a core of juicy stone fruit. Lively on the palate with lots of flavour, persistence and character. 90+/100
 

Alexandris Athiri 2015

The current vintage of the Athiri is more aromatic and less smoky compared to 2013 but the winemaker says that after a couple of years it will transform entirely gaining in minerality and diminishing in floral scents. Tight and elegant on the palate with adequate concentration and reasonable finish. 88/100
 

Apiro 2015 

Apiro translating into infinite is a intellectual concept of a blend where the varieties are not revealed. Exciting nose with many components - floral, fruity and herbal - followed by a rich palate. Great packaging here and idea. 88/100
 

Apiro 2016

Same concept as above with a different label. Intensely vegetal nose, fresh and powerful. Palate comes as a surprise since there is some preservation of CO2 and outside the box juniper character. 90/100
 

World Citizen 13

(A  blend of indigenous rustic Mandilari 30% with 50% Cab Sauvignon and 20% Cab Franc, thus the name World Citizen! Matured in 100% new oak...Why?) Full throttled with tart red fruit to the long finish. Tight and concentrated example with a lot of life ahead and energy. 91/100
 

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